As the Capital’s dreich summer continues, a decorated wartime pilot has revealed how the weather brought terror to one flight.
Doug Gregory, 88, was forced to land his Blenheim fighter plane in dense fog at East Fortune.
Although stationed at Charterhall, a similar weather situation prevented a safe landing and Doug diverted to the East Lothian base.
The ground crew there sent dozens of rockets into the air to guide the plane in.
The Distinguished Flying Cross winner, who lives in Southampton, said: “It was December 15, 1942 and I’d been up on an exercise on my own in a Blenheim. Charterhall got fogged so I was diverted to East Fortune, but that was also fogged. So they sent up a great display of rockets and Very Lights [flares fired from pistols] so I could find the place.”
As Doug had been flying for some time, his fuel tanks were empty and it was crucial he got to the ground as soon as possible.
“I’d been up quite a long time and my petrol gauges were down to nothing, so I had to get in in a hurry,” he said.
“I missed the runway because I was too high. I nearly got shot with the rockets because it was just like November 5. I turned round and came again. Feeling my way through the fog, I found the runway and got one wheel on it, but because it was icy it was difficult to land. I stayed the night there.
“It was a bit of an adventure. It’s frightening when you can’t see where you are going. I’m rather glad it did happen, because it was a wonderful ’drome.”